English Literature MA

English Literature student

You will explore all aspects of literature in English, benefiting from our expertise in a wide range of areas, including American, Irish and postcolonial literatures, critical theory, creative writing, and the relationship between literature and other arts, media and science.

You will benefit from access to the University’s world-class Hunterian collection and the Library’s Special Collections, with strengths in the 18th and 19th centuries, travel, illuminated manuscripts and significant single-author holdings.

  • September start
  • Session dates
  • English Literature MA (Hons): Q301 4 year degree

What our students say

“English Literature at the University of Glasgow succeeds in delivering teaching from academics who are world experts in their field whilst balancing this with a helpful and supportive atmosphere and structure.”

“The staff in English Literature have been fantastic; I was taught how to think independently and creatively.”

Programme structure

Year 1

You will develop skills in critical and creative writing and in analysing and arguing about literature while also gaining insights into how speaking and performing texts enhances literary study.

The first course focuses on poetry and the second on narrative prose. Both contain diverse texts from different periods and cultures.

There are also opportunities to develop creative skills in writing poetry and fiction.


In Year 1, you will study two courses from English Literature with courses from two other subjects. See flexible degrees.

English Literature Single Honours

If you intend to study English Literature as a Single Honours degree, you will need to study Level 1 English Language and Linguistics in either Year 1 or Year 2.

Year 2

Year 2 is more conceptual in focus and begins by examining the urgent question of literature’s relationship to both environment and energy.

Its starting point is how literature has represented and engaged with the human relationship to and responsibility for the natural world and encourages students to think about the real-world impact of these questions. The second half builds on this by investigating the concept of ideology through an examination of the relationship between a wide range of literary texts and their historical, cultural and political contexts.

You will be reading and writing on novels, short stories, tales, poems, plays, essays and manifestos from the medieval period to the present day.


In Year 2, you will study two courses from English Literature with courses from two other subjects. See flexible degrees.

English Literature Single Honours

If you intend to study English Literature as a Single Honours degree, you will need to study Level 1 English Language and Linguistics in either Year 1 or Year 2.

Years 3 and 4

Progression into the Honours programme (years 3 and 4) allows you to choose from a huge range of both period and topic-based courses in a range of specialist areas, all taught by staff who are leading researchers in their fields.

You have the opportunity to choose from a range of courses in creative writing and to carry out an independent research project which can take the form of a dissertation, creative writing portfolio or dissertation by work placement.

You will take courses making up 120 credits each year in years 3 and 4 in Single Honours English Literature.  For Joint Honours, you will take 60 credits in English Literature each year, alongside 60 credits from your other degree subject. See flexible degrees.

Example courses

These are examples of courses you may study in Years 3 and 4. Courses may not run every academic year due to staff research interests, student interest, timetabling etc.

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Our international links

Glasgow is partnered with many universities in Europe, including the Universities of Amsterdam and Uppsala, the USA and Canada, as well as further afield, in New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia. 

Entry requirements

for entry in 2021

Summary of entry requirements for English Literature

SQA Higher Entry Requirements (by end of S6) 

  • AAAAA Higher or AAAA Higher+B Advanced Higher (BBBB S5 minimum for consideration)
  • Additional requirements: Higher English and a Higher Humanities subject.

SQA Higher Adjusted Entry Requirements* (by end of S6)

  • Additional requirements: Higher English and a Higher Humanities subject. Successful completion of Top-Up or one of our Summer Schools.

* See Access Glasgow for eligibility.

A-level Standard Entry Requirements

  • AAB – BBB
  • Additional requirements: one A-level Humanities subject.

IB Standard Entry Requirements

  • 36 (6,6,5 HL) – 32 (6,5,5 HL)
  • Additional requirements: HL English and HL Humanities subject.  

2021 Admissions Policy and further information about entry requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

English language requirements

Important information for entry in Autumn 2020 and January 2021

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications:

  • ibTOEFL*: 90; no sub-test less than: Reading: 20; Listening: 19; Speaking: 19; Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • IGCSE: English as a First Language (0500/0522): C in Reading and Writing, plus 1 in Listening, 2 in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • IGCSE: English as a Second Language (0510/0511): A in Reading and Writing, plus A in Listening, 2/B in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact External Relations

If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:

Visa requirements and proof of English language level

It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.

For further information about English language, please see School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study.

Career prospects

A degree in English Literature is highly respected in the current job market, not just by employers in the arts, education and media sectors but also in public relations, finance, business and technology. This is because graduates in English Literature possess valuable skills for the future, such as argumentation, cognitive flexibility, coordinating with others, creativity and critical analysis and we work hard, with the support of our careers support advisers, to prepare our students for a wide range of future employment. 

Degrees and UCAS codes

When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:

MA (Hons)

English Literature: Q301 (4 years)
English Literature/Ancient History: VQ13 (4 years)
English Literature/Archaeology: QV3K (4 years)
English Literature/Business & Management: QN32 (4 years)
English Literature/Celtic Civilisation: QQ5J (4 years)
English Literature/Celtic Studies: QQ3M (4 years)
English Literature/Central & East European Studies: RQ7J (4 years)
English Literature/Classics: QQ3V (4 years)
English Literature/Comparative Literature: Q290 (4 years)
English Literature/Computing Science: GQ4H (4 years)
English Literature/Digital Media & Information Studies: GQ5H (4 years)
English Literature/Economic & Social History: QV3H (4 years)
English Literature/Economics: LQD3 (4 years)
English Literature/English Language & Linguistics: Q304 (4 years)
English Literature/Film & Television Studies: QW3P (4 years)
English Literature/French: QR3C (5 years)
English Literature/Gaelic: Q3Q5 (4 years)
English Literature/German: QR3F (5 years)
English Literature/History: QV3C (4 years)
English Literature/History of Art: QVHH (4 years)
English Literature/Latin: QQ3P (4 years)
English Literature/Mathematics: QG3C (4 years)
English Literature/Music: QW3H (4 years)
English Literature/Philosophy: QV3M (4 years)
English Literature/Politics: LQ2H (4 years)
English Literature/Portuguese: 6L8B (5 years)
English Literature/Russian: QRHR (5 years)
English Literature/Scottish History: QVHF (4 years)
English Literature/Scottish Literature: QQ2H (4 years)
English Literature/Social & Public Policy: LQ4H (4 years)
English Literature/Sociology: LQ3H (4 years)
English Literature/Spanish: RQ43 (5 years)
English Literature/Theatre Studies: WQ4H (4 years)
English Literature/Theology & Religious Studies: VQ63 (4 years)

English Literature can also be taken in combination with Law programmes:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details.


The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That's why we've invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding in recent years.

Undergraduate Excellence Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has a number of Undergraduate Excellence Scholarships available to new International and EU students for 2021 entry. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fee discount of £5,000 per year of study and is subject to satisfactory progress for consecutive years of study.  

RUK Access Bursary

The bursary supports talented students who might not be able to take a place at University for reasons of financial hardship. It is available to new entrant full-time, undergraduate students of the University of Glasgow who are fully registered for Session 2021/22, as being domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and paying annual tuition fees of £9,250 per annum.

RUK Excellence Scholarship

The RUK Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained AAA or better in one sitting at A Level (or equivalent). 

James McCune Smith Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has 30 undergraduate scholarships available for students Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students. The scholarship supports students who could face financial difficulties taking up their place to study at the University. The value of the scholarship is £2,000, paid in instalments for the first year of undergraduate study. The scholarship is open to new applicants to the University. Current students who have previously been in receipt of the award may reapply, however, preference will be given to applicants entering their first year of study.

Beaconhouse Schools

The University of Glasgow offer a 15% discount on the first year of tuition fee to students from Beaconhouse Schools and who enrol on an undergraduate programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount does not apply to Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry programmes.

Undergraduate Talent Scholarships

The University of Glasgow awards c.50 undergraduate Talent Scholarships each academic year to support students who could face financial difficulties in taking up their place to study at the University. The value of each scholarship is typically £1,500 p.a. for each year of the degree programme, subject to satisfactory progress. Talent Scholarships are available to students entering any of the University's Colleges.

Dental School students are eligible for a Talent Scholarship in their first year of study only. They are eligible for the NHS Dental Student Support Grant in the following years.

Humanitarian Scholarships

The University of Glasgow is offering four scholarships (one per college) for applicants to the University who are staying in the UK on humanitarian grounds and are facing challenges in progressing onto Higher Education. The scholarship is open to prospective undergraduate and postgraduate taught students of the University of Glasgow applying for entry in 2021/22. The scholarship meets the full cost of tuition fees for the duration of your programme as well providing an additional £5,000 per year stipend, if the eligibility criteria for university accommodation is met this will also be provided for the duration of your degree. For more information on the accommodation criteria, please see the Accommodation Services section on the website.

We are also offering eight scholarships to students who hold refugee status. This scholarship is awarded as a £2,500 stipend towards study costs, per year of study.

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

How to apply


If you wish to be considered for English Literature you must apply using a UCAS code for English Literature, either as a single subject or as part of a Joint Honours combination.

Full-time students must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). 

International students to Arts, Engineering, Law, Nursing, Science, and Social Sciences can also apply using The Common Application: however, if applying to more than one UK university, we recommend using UCAS. Applications to Dentistry, Education, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine must be made through UCAS.

Application deadlines

  • 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or also applying to Oxford or Cambridge
  • 15 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
  • 30 June: international (non-EU) students

We do not usually accept any applications after these deadlines.

It's your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of your application before submission. Requests to correct application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.

How to apply for Advanced Entry

Apply for year 2 (Y2) on your UCAS application. If the specific subject is unavailable for Advanced Entry or your application for year 2 entry is unsuccessful, you will be automatically considered for year 1 entry. You do not have to submit a separate UCAS application.

Apply via UCAS

More information about this programme


Students satisfied

Discover Uni, January 2020
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Meet our students

Sian: Bauer Media

A love of writing and creativity landed Sian a job working in communications for one of the UK's biggest media companies.

Helen: Entrepreneur

Helen used the skills she gained in writing, marketing and design through her English Literature/English Language degree to launch her own distillery company from her family farm in Pitlochry.

Times Good university guide

7th in UK: Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide [English]

Complete University Guide

UK top 10: Complete University Guide [English]

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World top 40: QS World University Rankings [English Language & Literature]